Indian offence, Aussie power

Four-time Olympian in men’s hockey, Jay Stacy, talks about his vision for Dabang Mumbai after taking over as head coach.

You are appointed in place of Germany’s Valentin Altenburg as Dabang Mumbai head coach. He is in charge of the national men’s squad. Your thoughts on Germany in field hockey.

I have the utmost respect for German hockey. They place great focus on preparing for the big tournaments, like the Olympic Games and World Cups. They defeated us in the 1992 Olympic final 2-1; it was a very experienced team which had lost the previous two Olympic men’s hockey finals (Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988). Germany will be trying for a ‘Three-Peat’ of Olympic gold medals after titles in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London), which were outstanding efforts.

To appear in four Olympics and remain injury-free is amazing. Were you involved in any epic Australia vs India matches?

We had fantastic physical preparation staff. I was always very professional away from the pitch. I was always focused on keeping my body in the best condition possible so that I could compete at the international level for as long as possible. Over the years, India and Australia had some fantastic battles at various tournaments. We had a very tight encounter at the 1992 Olympics (Barcelona). Pargat Singh was leading from the front and Dhanraj Pillay was dangerous in full flight.

Australian teams were known for their eye-catching playing style, though podium finishes were missing. Now, success and style go hand-in-hand for Australia. Explain please…

I disagree with your view that Australian teams lacked podium finishes. I have provided some compelling results for you. At the past six Olympic Games, Australia has been among the medals. At the past seven World Cups, we won medals, winning two World Cups. Australia has won every Commonwealth Games gold medal since hockey’s entry, besides the past five Champions Trophy tournaments.

Distinguished international players taking up coaching is positive for the sport. Do you agree with the view that coaching education is a necessity for famous hockey players nursing ambitions, and why?

It is great for the sport when long-serving international players take up coaching. These players have an immense amount of experience and knowledge to pass on to future generations.

This does not guarantee they will be successful coaches. I put as much time and energy into learning, developing and reviewing as I did when I was a player. Formal accreditation is a fantastic addition to one’s prior playing experience and knowledge.

Work for Hockey India League coaches involves blending various playing styles and understanding players from different nationalities. Have you done this before in Australia?

HIL provides an interesting challenge for all coaches. I have experienced coaching players from various nationalities and playing structures in Europe and, to some extent, in Australia. My ability to invest time to understand my players, identify their areas of strength, provide a training and structural environment, where they can play their best, will be important. This will enable the team to gel together and perform on a consistent basis.

What is your vision for Dabang Mumbai?

We want to play an exciting brand of hockey that blends the traditions of attacking Indian hockey and the power of Australian hockey. If we can achieve this, our loyal fans will enjoy the matches very much.

Professionals do their homework on leagues, teams and players before taking up an assignment as coach or player. Can you explain the factor/factors which convinced you to find time for HIL, besides the monetary aspect?

Professional coaches do many hours of homework on leagues, teams and players. Since my appointment, I have been researching everything on Hockey India League. I was offered the opportunity to be Head Coach of Dabang Mumbai when there was a change within the German national team (Valentin Altenburg appointed men’s coach). I was not part of the player auction back in September, but believe the franchise and Valentin have assembled a competitive list. The main driving factors in accepting this position were that as the Head Coach of the men’s Hockey Programme, Victorian Institute of Sport (my employer in Melbourne) granted me leave for the duration of HIL. It gave me the chance to coach some of the world’s best hockey players and the opportunity to develop an unknown team with varying nationalities into a winning combination.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:03:29 AM |

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